tx H2O

txH2O Winter 2008

Agriculture agencies change names

Two agencies of The Texas A&M University System recently changed their names and logos to better reflect their missions and to reposition themselves in the marketplace.

As of January 2008, the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station is now Texas AgriLife Research and Texas Cooperative Extension is Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

In a news release announcing the changes, Dr. Mark Hussey, director of AgriLife Research, said, "We are making these changes to better communicate the life sustaining and life-changing impacts that both AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension deliver to the people of Texas and beyond." Hussey is also interim vice chancellor of agriculture for the A&M System and interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

"But we also want to tell our story to a larger audience and a changing state population, attract new resources and build new partnerships, while strengthening our existing ones," Hussey said.

Texas A&M's new Director of Communications and Marketing Jason Cook, who previously was director of communications and marketing for Texas AgriLife, said the changes were also made to better align the names with the teaching, research, and extension missions of the agencies and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. By changing the names, the agencies, and college are more closely tied together, he said.

"It is a natural step to bring these three separate entities together under a family brand," Cook said.

The name changes are part of a re-branding initiative launched this year after two years of study and planning. These efforts were led by former vice chancellor Dr. Elsa Murano, who was named president of Texas A&M University on Jan. 3.

"The re-branding efforts are centered on one foundational message: 'Agriculture is Life!'" Hussey said. "The central idea is that life itself is the core value that our agencies seek to sustain and enhance.

"People usually don't realize how much we all depend on agriculture and the life sciences. Discoveries and innovations in these fields directly impact the quality of the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the homes we live in, and, more and more, even the fuels we pump into our vehicles."

Dr. Ed Smith, director of AgriLife Extension, said, "These new brands will impact not only our marketing materials and signage, but also the way we position and prioritize our programs and work with our federal, state, and county partners to serve the state of Texas. It is vitally important to tell our story and that people connect our agencies to the tremendous impacts they have on the state."

One of the drivers of the re-branding initiative was a market study that showed that the work of the research and extension agencies was not widely known across the state of Texas.

"We hope to help people better understand the vital role that agriculture and life sciences still play in improving the prosperity of their lives," said Smith. "We believe that if they come to know us better, they will see that connection more clearly, even within a state population that is now 85 percent urbanized."

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